Pura Fé: Musician, Singer, Mother, Native Activist

Written by
Pura Fé: Musician, Singer, Mother, Native Activist Pura Fé: Musician, Singer, Mother, Native Activist (c) Patrick Suarez

"Pura Fé: Musician, Singer, Artist, Teacher, Mother, Native Activist" by Sonya Braxton.

Pura Fé, born Pura Fé Antonia ("Toni") Crescioni of Tuscarora and Taino heritage is an accomplished songwriter, musician, singer, and the founding member of the internationally known Native women's a Capella trio, Ulali...now Ulali Project and Deer Clan Singers. Pura Fe tours and records extensively overseas with her solo career since 2006. 


She began her Blues recordings when she became a part of the Music Maker Relief Foundation out of Hillsborough, NC. and was picked up by Dixie Frog Records out of France. In 2006, Pura Fe received Frances prestigious Grammy-Oscar, "L'Academy Charles Cross Award" for best "World Album". She is now releasing her 5th European album and tour called "Sacred Seed" with Nueva Onda productions / January 2015. She has received several awards and has collaborated and shared the bill with many world renowned artists from around the world.

She is also an Activist who lends her music and presence to help give a voice for the Indigenous fight on the front lines of the corporations that are killing and depleting the natural resources. She also has well renowned activist friends who respect and love her due to her passion for our Native people rights, as well as our land. 

Pura Fe paddled 150 miles on the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign down the Hudson River, which ended at the United Nations "Day of The World's Indigenous Peoples" environmental permanent forums. She recently rode together with Winona LaDuke to support "The Native Ride for Love Water, Not Oil" this past August 2014. In September 2014 Pura Fe marched and sang with Ulali Project for Indigenous peoples front-lines that lead the 400 thousand people's Global Climate March in NYC. Pura Fe Statement - "Putting the Indigenous people in front of the march was better than any apology that this Country has never given!! Instead, we took our rightful place as the protectors...we are these lands...we have never stopped fighting for her life, we are one and the same. It is the Indigenous world wide that fight the corporations. We are the front lines"!!

She has brought her message of love for Mother Earth and its Indigenous peoples to many venues, workshops and universities around the world. Her activism and her music are tools she uses to spread awareness and bridge the gap between privileged and oppressed.

(c) Nadya Kwandibens


To most non-Natives, the music of North American Indians sounds almost otherworldly, the sound of a culture as far removed from the mainstream as may be possible in this modern digital world. That perception, however, is essentially wrong; Native people, like their sisters and brothers from Africa, have been influencing American music and culture ever since the first Europeans, Natives, and slaves from Africa met on this continent almost 400 years ago.

Pura Fé, a Tuscarora woman known for her work with Ulali, an a Capella female trio that brings Native music to the mainstream and the creators of a new contemporary style and genre. They are the inspiration that many Native women now sing with hand drums and harmony.

Pura Fe has been one of the connections between Native and African-American music for decades. Showing that the roots of Blues music has it's foundation in Southeastern Indigenous traditional song, is part of the African American experience and music. She lends her family stories, her music and is a consultant for the Film "RUMBLE", a documentary about Native Music and Musicians that have been apart of the making of American Music. Rezolution Films.

People forget Charley Patton [the Father of the Blues] was Choctaw, Scrapper Blackwell and Jimi Hendrix were Cherokee and Link Wray was Shawnee and Tuscarora from Dunn, NC. all the early jazz and blues people were either Indian or mixed of dual or tri bloodlines; this experience gave birth to this rich musical culture.

Tuscarora were known for harboring runaway Black, White and Indian slaves and instigating slave uprisings. — They were also the Nation that were the key escorts in the Underground Rail Road...to the North and over the Canadian border. In all this...people intermarried. Food, Crops, Medicine, Languages, Culture, Democracy and NEW MUSIC...such as Country and Blues and Jazz became a staple of this country. And the Native contributions that were always here, always get UNNOTICED.

"Taj Mahal talked with me about distinct native influences in blues and jazz. I had been singing with Lee Gates, who is Albert Collins' cousin, and he pointed out how similar my wailing was to the sound of Lee's guitar. Taj said that the wailing guitar you hear in rock and blues is the same sound of powwow singers; nowhere in Africa do you hear that kind of guitar playing. It's obviously a Native expression." We talked about the blues shuffle rhythm, that is the same as a round dance beat and Stomp Dance call and response...and my friend Ojibwe musician friend Dave Deleary said it was a Mohawk who invented the ching-chi chi ching on the symbols that you hear in jazz. That is the same as shaking a horn rattle that you hear in the Long House. Like Joy Harjo says..."We have Always Been Here...we were there when Jazz was made"!! ~Pura Fé

Pura Fé, a Native Artist Extraordinaire who is telling the stories that builds the bridge of understanding the diversity and depth of culture and identity.

Pura Fe' sings with several other young native ladies including Charly Lowry, Brittany Jacobs, Ciera Dial Locklear, (members of the group, Dark Water Rising) and Layla Rose Locklear, at the River People Music and Culture Festival at UNC Pembroke, NC. Pura Fe' wrote this song to unify the tribes throughout Virginia and the Carolinas.

Subscribe to Pura Fe's YouTube Channel 

Native Community
Pura Fe volunteered her time teaching at the NC Indian Cultural Center for Seventh Generation Youth Group in Robeson County and became a part of the Tuscarora Indian Nation in Prospect Community Long House. She taught Iroquois Social Dance and brought the Seventh Generation Youth group and Long House singers and dancers on the road to open for Ulali in many venues as well as Merle Fest, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Pequot Museum with Wilma Mankiller, Onandaga, Akwesasne, Kanastiohareke Mohawk Community-Tom Porter and Tuscarora , NY and more.

Today Pura Fe works with Skaroreh Katénu:aka Nation and She is part of the Woman Sacred River Drum Society, which consists of grass roots Indigenous women from the Tribal communities of East Carolina and Virginia. They run workshops that teach traditional crafts of their region. Anything from beading, sewing, weaving, pottery, dyeing Indigo, canoeing, eating, praying, genealogy, singing and have a good time!!

Personal Note:
I asked Pura Fe to give me one personal quote that she would want the world to always associate her name with and she gave me one simply put strong word..."ANCESTORS!!!"

"Ancestors", a very powerful statement indeed because without Ancestors Blood we would not be who we are today, Native.

Written and compiled by Sonya Braxton with assistance from Artist and Activist Pura Fe. Support the Effort to End Paper Genocide of Native American Indians in North America.

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